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Top 100 NFL Players of 2018: Rodgers tops Brady for No. 1, Jaguars have most on list

Who are the NFL's best players?

Who is the best quarterback? Top pass rusher? Receiver?

The debate is settled with my 2018 list of Top 100 NFL players, a list that looks back at the 2017 season, but also ahead to 2018.

That means injured players from a year ago, players like the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt and Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants, are still featured prominently near the top of the rankings since they appear to be healthy again – or will be by the time camp rolls around.

The one player who continues to have injury concerns is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who still hasn't thrown a football after shoulder surgery, so I left him off this list. If healthy, he's in the middle of it.

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The top overall player for the second straight year is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He missed time last year with a shoulder injury, but he's the best player in in the league when on the field.

He edges out Tom Brady, who is right there in the second spot. The rest of the top 10 features a lot of usual suspects, but there are a lot of new entries this year throughout the top 100.

If you're wondering what team has the most players, it's the Jacksonville Jaguars with eight in the top 100 – six of them defensive players -- just edging out the Los Angeles Rams, who have seven.

1
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
When he's on his game, and on the field, there is nobody better. I know he doesn't have the rings of Tom Brady, but right now he is the NFL's best – even coming off an injury-marred season.
2
Tom Brady New England Patriots QB
To be doing what he's doing at his age is unreal. The man is the gold standard when it comes to franchise quarterbacks and might be the best ever.
3
Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams DE
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year is a force on the inside and should be even better this year with more help next to him in Ndamukong Suh. The Rams need to make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league.
4
Von Miller Denver Broncos OLB
He remains the game's best edge rusher, a player who can also play the run. Miller's ability to disrupt games is why he's near the top of the list.
5
Antonio Brown Pittsburgh Steelers WR
He continues to put up amazing numbers for the Steelers. There is no sign at all of him slowing either as he led the NFL in receiving yards last season.
6
Jalen Ramsey Jacksonville Jaguars CB
He is now the NFL's best corner, a big, long player who can play either man or zone and excel at it. He plays with the swagger of a Deion Sanders.
7
Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots TE
He is the standard by which tight ends are measured. Gronkowski is on his way to Canton, but injuries have been a concern.
8
Khalil Mack Oakland Raiders DE
His season wasn't quite as good as the year before, but he remains one of the top edge rushers in the league. A new defense should help his sack numbers.
9
J.J. Watt Houston Texans DE
He's coming off a season shortened by injury, which has been a recurring theme for him lately. But when he's healthy – and he reportedly is that now – he is still a player who can ruin an offense.
10
Cameron Jordan New Orleans Saints DE
For some reason, he doesn't seem to get the due he deserves as one of the league's best down players. He had his best season in 2017 with 13 sacks.
11
Luke Kuechly Carolina Panthers MLB
He remains a game-changing player in the middle of Carolina's defense. He is good against the run, but also really good against the pass.
12
Todd Gurley Los Angeles Rams RB
He was special in 2017, putting up big numbers running it and catching it out of the backfield. He should again be a legitimate MVP candidate.
13
Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons WR
He remains one of the top receivers in the league. But he does need to catch more touchdowns.
14
Odell Beckham New York Giants WR
He played in just three games because of a broken ankle last season, but when he's on the field he is one of the game's best and a player who can change a game with one catch and run.
15
Calais Campbell Jacksonville Jaguars DT
In his first season with the Jaguars, he could have easily been the Defensive Player of the Year with 14½ sacks. He was even better off the field for a young group of defenders.
16
Harrison Smith Minnesota Vikings FS
He is a playmaking safety who can do it all, rush, cover and play the run. His versatility is perfect for the modern NFL.
17
Joey Bosa Los Angeles Chargers DE
Entering his third season, he is one of the league's best edge rushers. Watch for him to be higher on this list next year.
18
DeAndre Hopkins Houston Texans WR
Now that he finally has a quarterback in Deshaun Watson, Hopkins should be even better. He's put up big numbers with below-average passers, so look out.
19
Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers RB
He can do it all, run it, catch it and he's a good blocker. His contract situation shouldn't overshadow how great he is as a player.
20
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints QB
Closing in on the age of 40, he remains one of the league's best quarterbacks. The help from the running game last season cut his numbers some, but not the production.
21
David Johnson Arizona Cardinals RB
When he's healthy, he's right near the top of the list of backs. He missed most of last season with a broken wrist, but he is healthy and again should be a big part of the Arizona offense.
22
Tyron Smith Dallas Cowboys T
Back issues limited him to 13 games last season, which is a concern moving forward. When he's on the field, he's the best left tackle in the game.
23
Marshal Yanda Baltimore Ravens G
He was lost in the second week with a broken ankle in 2017. He is expected to be ready to go for camp and when he's on the field he's one of the best guards in the league.
24
Casey Hayward Los Angeles Chargers CB
He quietly had one of the best corner seasons in the league last year. He's been a real steal for the Chargers in free agency.
25
Bobby Wagner Seattle Seahawks MLB
He was the best middle linebacker in the league last season. On a defense hit with injuries, he was their best player.
26
Zack Martin Dallas Cowboys G
His ability to dominate inside is why the Cowboys have been so good running the ball with him as a starter. He's about to get a huge contract.
27
Xavier Rhodes Minnesota Vikings CB
He is an elite cover corner who plays on one of the best defenses. Rhodes is just now getting to his peak.
28
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs TE
He is the second-best tight end in the league. He is a physical presence who puts a lot of pressure on a defense.
29
Patrick Peterson Arizona Cardinals CB
Peterson continues to be an outstanding cover player who travels with the opposition's best receiver.
30
Chris Harris Denver Broncos CB
Early in his career he was underrated, but is now one of the better cover corners in the league. He can play inside or outside and with Aqib Talib now with the Rams, he is the top dog by far in their secondary.
31
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys RB
When he's on the field, he's one of the best runners in the league. Missing time due to suspension last season really hurt the Cowboys.
32
A.J. Bouye Jacksonville Jaguars CB
He is the "other" corner on the Jaguars roster, but that doesn't mean he's not one of the league's best.
33
Marshon Lattimore New Orleans Saints CB
As a rookie, he was outstanding as a cover corner, helping to fix a position that has been a major problem for the Saints for years. He had five interceptions and showed the ability to play the ball in the air.
34
Michael Thomas New Orleans Saints WR
In his second season, he became the go-to player for Drew Brees with 104 catches. Scary thought: He might just be scratching the surface of what he can do.
35
A.J. Green Cincinnati Bengals WR
He had 77 catches with eight touchdowns on an offense that was hit hard by injuries and had bad line play last season. Are his best years going to waste?
36
Fletcher Cox Philadelphia Eagles DT
He is a disruptive force inside for the Eagles, a guy who plays the run really well is also a good pass rusher.
37
Melvin Ingram Los Angeles Chargers OLB
Playing opposite Joey Bosa, he is a premier pass rusher in his own right. Ingram plays with a nasty style and had his best season in 2017.
38
David DeCastro Pittsburgh Steelers G
He plays the game with power and has improved greatly as a pass protector. He has lived up to the first-round hype.
39
David Bakhtiari Green Bay Packers T
He is outstanding protecting the blind side for the Packers. In pass protection, he's as good as any left tackle.
40
Geno Atkins Cincinnati Bengals DT
Atkins was back looking like the young Atkins last season. He is a power player with unreal quickness.
41
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
His numbers were down some from his 2017 MVP season, but there were reasons for it, including a new offensive coordinator. He played better than the perception of his game.
42
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB
His ability to turn bad plays into great ones is as good as any quarterback in the league. This year, the offense should be his, which will help his numbers go up.
43
Jadeveon Clowney Houston Texans OLB
With injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus last season, Clowney lived up to his pre-draft hype for the first time. Injuries do remain a concern.
44
LeSean McCoy Buffalo Bills RB
He was the main reason why the Bills somehow snuck into the playoff last season. Imagine if he had more help around him?
45
Alvin Kamara New Orleans Saints RB
As a rookie he was special, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. This season he will get more carries, which is a good thing.
46
Demarcus Lawrence Dallas Cowboys DE
He had his breakout season in 2017 after overcoming a back injury. Now comes the tough part: Doing it again.
47
Chandler Jones Arizona Cardinals OLB
He led the NFL in sacks last season with 17 and emerged as one of the better edge rushers.
48
Travis Frederick Dallas Cowboys C
His ability to block for the run is a big part of the Cowboys offense. He remains one of the two or three best centers in the game.
49
Tre'Davious White Buffalo Bills CB
As a rookie, he was impressive in coverage. He didn't back down from any challenge thrown his way. He was one of the true bright spots on the Bills defense.
50
Jurrell Casey Tennessee Titans DE
He can push the pocket in the passing game, but he's also good against the run. Plays with quickness and power.
51
Ndamukong Suh Los Angeles Rams DT
He never lived up to the money in Miami, but he was still a heck of a player on their line. Now he gets to play next to Aaron Donald, which might make him even better.
52
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers QB
He threw for 4,515 yards, with 28 touchdown passes and 10 picks, which was down from 21 the year before. His yards-per-attempt average of 7.9 was his highest since 2013.
53
Grady Jarrett Atlanta Falcons DT
He has emerged as one of the best inside players in the NFL. His quickness is as good as any down player in the league.
54
Brandon Graham Philadelphia Eagles DE
He doesn't pile up huge sack numbers – getting 9½ last season -- but his presence is felt with the way he consistently pressures the quarterback.
55
Gerald McCoy Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT
His six sacks last season were his lowest total since 2012, but he didn't have much help around him. He is still a disruptive force inside.
56
Andrew Norwell Jacksonville Jaguars G
With Carolina last season, he was one of the top guards in the game. He will amp up the Jaguars' run game in a big way.
57
Damon Harrison New York Giants DT
The man they call "Snacks" is a power player inside who dominates against the run. He doesn't get the due he deserves.
58
Mike Daniels Green Bay Packers DE
He continues to be a dominant down player on a defense that doesn't have many playmakers. He certainly stands out.
59
Marcus Peters Los Angeles Rams CB
He plays a cocky brand of corner, but he usually backs it up. A change of scenery will be good for him.
60
Eric Berry Kansas City Chiefs SS
He is coming off a season where he was lost in the first week with a torn Achilles tendon. He's overcome so much in the past, so why not expect him back playing at a high level again this season?
61
Kawann Short Carolina Panthers DT
He's by far their best defensive lineman, dominating against the run and with his ability to push the pocket inside. He had 7½ sacks last season.
62
Lavonte David Tampa Bay Buccaneers OLB
He was one of the few bright spots on a bad Tampa Bay defense. His speed makes his game work.
63
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers QB
He remains a player who can beat a team with his arm, but is really dangerous when the play breaks down. Since his impressive 2014 season, his numbers haven't been as good.
64
Kareem Hunt Kansas City Chiefs RB
He was the leading rusher in the league last season as a rookie, which was impressive for a third-round pick. He should be even better in 2018.
65
William Jackson Cincinnati Bengals CB
He emerged as a shutdown corner last season, his first on the field after missing his rookie season in 2016. He had two impressive games against Antonio Brown.
66
Alex Mack Atlanta Falcons C
He had another good season for the Falcons, especially blocking for the run. He turns 33 this year, so he's getting up in the years.
67
Eric Weddle Baltimore Ravens DB
He finished tied for third in interceptions with six last season and is still a top-tier safety.
68
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
He had another good season in 2017, throwing 28 touchdown passes and 10 picks. He also threw for 4,446 yards.
69
Aqib Talib Los Angeles Rams DB
This 32-year-old showed last season he still has the tools to be an outstanding cover player. He will be a nice fit with the Rams.
70
Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles QB
He was in the MVP conversation last season before he was lost with a torn ACL. He's expected back for the opener, and he should be back to his winning ways.
71
Leonard Williams New York Jets DE
He wasn't as dominant as he was in 2017, but he remains a big-time force on the Jets line. He just needs more help around him.
72
Jason Kelce Philadelphia Eagles C
His smarts and quickness are imperative to the Eagles offense as he remains one of the top centers.
73
Tyreek Hill Kansas City Chiefs WR
The NFL's fastest player showed what he's capable of doing when he settled in as a receiver last season. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch.
74
Darius Slay Detroit Lions CB
He tied for the league lead in interceptions with eight, showing the ability to handle the league's best receivers.
75
Andrew Whitworth Los Angeles Rams T
In his first season with the Rams, he helped steady a line that was in need of it. He continues to be one of the best in the league.
76
Telvin Smith Jacksonville Jaguars OLB
He is a run-and-chase linebacker who knows how to get to the football. He is one of the leaders on one of the NFL's best defenses.
77
Malik Jackson Jacksonville Jaguars DT
He had a better second season with the Jaguars than in 2016, when he signed as a big-ticket free agent. His ability to push the pocket inside is a big part of their defense.
78
Earl Thomas Seattle Seahawks FS
Injuries have slowed his career some, but when he's on the field he's still a game-changing player on the back end.
79
Yannick Ngakoue Jacksonville Jaguars DE
On a dominant defensive line, he had his breakout season in 2017. Watch for a lot more from him in 2018 and for him to be much higher on this list next year.
80
Keenan Allen Los Angeles Chargers WR
He had 102 catches (fourth in the league) for 1,393 yards (third in the league). He showed how good he could be when he's healthy.
81
Leonard Fournette Jacksonville Jaguars RB
He fought through some injuries last season and was still a productive rookie. With a better line in front of him this season, his numbers will go up.
82
Zach Ertz Philadelphia Eagles TE
He was a big reason why the Eagles' offense was able to help the team win a Super Bowl. He had 74 catches with eight touchdowns.
83
Landon Collins New York Giants DB
He wasn't quite as good as he was in 2016, but he continued to be a playmaker on their defense. Look for a better year from him in 2018.
84
Cameron Heyward Pittsburgh Steelers DT
He had his best season in 2017 with a career-best 12 sacks. He's also outstanding against the run in their scheme.
85
Joe Staley San Francisco 49ers T
At the age of 33, he is coming off another good season at left tackle for the 49ers. He's the rock on their line.
86
Mike Evans Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR
His numbers dropped from 2016, but he still had 71 catches and averaged 14.1 yards per catch. His touchdowns fell from 12 in 2016 to five last season.
87
Larry Fitzgerald Arizona Cardinals WR
All he does is continue to catch passes. He was second in the league with 109 catches and had six touchdowns. He's become more of a possession receiver, but he can move the chains.
88
Malcolm Jenkins Philadelphia Eagles DB
He is a versatile player who can do a lot of things and is a big reason why the Eagles are the Super Bowl champs.
89
Deion Jones Atlanta Falcons MLB
He made big strides in his season season. I would expect an even bigger jump in 2018.
90
Kevin Byard Tennessee Titans DB
He tied for the league lead in interceptions with eight last season. Even though Deion Sanders might not know who he is, his opponents sure do.
91
Micah Hyde Buffalo Bills SS
In his first season with the Bills, he showed why they made the move to sign him as a free agent. He was all over the field and had five picks.
92
Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings WR
He was fifth in the league in receiving yards with 1,276 on his 91 catches last season for an average of 14.0 per catch.
93
Adrian Amos Chicago Bears SS
This young safety was impressive in his third season with the Bears. He's good against the run and the pass.
94
Davante Adams Green Bay Packers WR
He had another good season for the Packers in 2017, catching 74 passes with 10 touchdowns.
95
DeForest Buckner San Francisco 49ers DT
In his two seasons, he has become a force for the 49ers. I expect his sack numbers to rise this season.
96
Kendall Fuller Kansas City Chiefs CB
He was much more than a throw-in in the Alex Smith trade to the Redskins. He was special as a slot player last year.
97
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
After a slow start in his rookie season, he really came on under Sean McVay last year in his second. He will be much higher up this list next year.
98
Everson Griffen Minnesota Vikings DE
All he does is continue to pressure the quarterback. He had 13 sacks last season for the Vikings.
99
Trey Flowers New England Patriots DE
He's the best defensive player on a defense that doesn't have enough good players.
100
Chris Jones Kansas City Chiefs DE
This is a rising player who will be much higher on this list next season. He really came on last season for the Chiefs.

Just missed 

Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings; Cam Newton, QB, Carolina PanthersJulian Edelman, WR, New England PatriotsMyles Jack, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars; Linval Joseph, DT, Minnesota Vikings; Devin McCourty, S, New England Patriots; Michael Bennett, DE, Philadelphia Eagles; Vic Beasley, DE-OLB, Atlanta Falcons; Takkarist McKinley, DE, Atlanta Falcons; Jack Conklin, T, Tennessee TitansDevonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons; Lamarcus Joyner, S, Los Angeles Rams; Glover Quin, S, Detroit LionsDoug Baldwin, WR, Seattle SeahawksTrent Williams, T, Washington Redskins; David Andrews, C, New England Patriots; Derek Carr, QB, Oakland RaidersDelanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans; Taylor Lewan, T, Tennessee Titans; Akiem Hicks, DT, Chicago Bears; Justin Houston, OLB, Kansas City Chiefs; Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings and Keanu Neal, S, Atlanta Falcons. 

Graphic illustrations created by Mike Meredith.

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